King Lear

William Shakespeare

King Lear

When Lear asks each of his daughters to profess their love for him, he is flattered by the false hyperbole of Regan and Goneril. When his youngest daughter Cordelia confesses to love him simply as a daughter should, his pride is dented and he casts her out of his kingdom. Too late to realise his mistake, and forced from power by his offspring, an increasingly impotent and frail Lear descends into madness. 3.7 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
King Lear

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Almeida
Director Michael Attenborough
Cast Clive Wood, Zoe Waites, Jenny Jules, Phoebe Fox, Kieran Bew, Richard Goulding, Ian Gelder, Trevor Fox, Richard Hope, Chook Sibtain Jonathan Pryce
From August 2012
Until November 2012
Box Office 020 7359 4404
 

When Lear asks each of his daughters to profess their love for him, he is flattered by the false hyperbole of Regan and Goneril. When his youngest daughter Cordelia confesses to love him simply as a daughter should, his pride is dented and he casts her out of his kingdom. Too late to realise his mistake, and forced from power by his offspring, an increasingly impotent and frail Lear descends into madness.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

The Evening Standard

As Lear’s vanity is thwarted and he lurches into madness, stumbling dispossessed around his kingdom, Pryce finds notes of seething rage yet also of delicate comedy, and the momentum of his decline is convincing. Even if this is a Lear few people will find sympathetic, he is recognizable and compelling. Pryce’s work is potent, immediate, and detailed without being pernickety.

12/09/2012

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The Guardian

Michael Billington

The emphasis is on King Lear as a family, rather than a cosmic, tragedy. It begins deceptively mildly with a smiling, beneficent Pryce placing a coronet on Cordelia's head before she has had a chance to speak. But one soon realises this ceremonial cosiness is a facade and that when Goneril talks of her father's "unruly waywardness" she speaks the simple truth. Even more pointedly, there are strong hints that Lear has abused his older daughters.

12/09/2012

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The Independent

Paul Taylor

Resorting to jokey parody as a shelter from the intolerable sense of his own powerlessness is a habit that Pryce's Lear finds it hard to kick. It makes the stripping away of this protection all the more moving, even if you reckon that, emotionally, neither performance nor production execute the full Monty.

12/09/2012

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The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

I place this Lear higher than Sir Ian McKellen’s celebrated rendition of a few years ago. The production values may be less swanky, and a dull Regan and dour Edmund let the side down a little.

12/09/2012

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The Times

Dominic Maxwell

The show handles the transition into storm and exile well, bringing in the smoke and the lighting effects. Yet there are moments, particularly in the long stretches where Lear is off stage, when the production drops down a gear. It needs another trick to help sustain the final hour, notwithstanding a strong sword fight between Kieran Bew’s Edmund and Richard Goulding’s Edgar.

12/09/2012

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The Daily Express

Julie Carpenter

Is it a great Lear? It’s a fine, complex and remarkably lucid performance but for me falls short of a full emotional flooring. Perhaps it’s not helped that the castle-like set seems to enclose the characters and so Lear’s howling in the raging storm lacks an elemental quality. Still, there’s some spectacular lighting and at times the cast seem to be wonderfully lit like characters in a Caravaggio painting.

14/09/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

Pryce's Lear is electrifyingly naturalistic, changeable as the weather, warm and gentle, shaken and ferociously raging. Pursuing the themes of playing and pretending, Attenborough also has Lear take on the role of fool in various ways. The galled king turns his scorn for his daughters into a spectator sport ...The downside is that the subplot of Gloucester and his opposed sons is underpowered at points and, on press night at least, the pace was sorely rushed towards the end.

16/09/2012

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The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

In Mr Pryce’s treatment, Shakespeare’s alliteration acquires force, as does his repeated use of the word ‘nothing’. The temper tantrum against Cordelia struck me as the behaviour of a diabetic, or maybe a patient in the early stages of dementia.

14/09/2012

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The Observer

Susannah Clapp

Tom Scutt's design encases the action in an unappealing brick castle, the same sepia tones as the male leggings and jerkins: perfect for conveying damp dynastic dysfunction, less good when human beings are reduced to poor forked things, and hopeless when it starts to sprout grass.

16/09/2012

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The Sunday Times

David Jays

Michael Attenborough’s disappointing production offers little insight or electricity. Good actors stand dully around a loam-coloured set, like waxworks on a dungheap. Only in the second half, as green sprigs break through the floor, does the production too find life.

16/09/2012

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The Stage

Michael Coveney

Although Michael Attenborough’s fast-paced and lucid revival edges dangerously from pagan neutrality into medieval monotone, Jonathan Pryce’s Lear is a compelling old curmudgeon, fiery and watchful at the same time, and especially moving in the scenes from Dover to deathbed.

12/09/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer

Attenborough’s production, set within the courtyard of a crumbling brick castle and with costumes that sometimes look as though they have been borrowed from the Ladybird Book of Medieval Dress, plods at times, and at others seems alarmingly sentimental. When a shoot of vegetation suddenly pushes up through the stage following the blinding of Gloucester, as if to tell us that all is not lost and that evil will eventually destroy itself, I found myself groaning at such crass symbolism.

12/09/2012

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